One month later: Hawthorne bike counter and the Bike Commute Challenge bump

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
bike barometer

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This weekend will mark one month since the “bicycle barometer” was installed on the Hawthorne Bridge. According to data posted online by the manufacturer of the counter, there have been 180,556 bicycle trips over the bridge since August 7th — or an average of about 6,000 bike trips per day (including weekends).

Yesterday, the counter — which counts bike traffic in both directions — tallied its highest mark ever with 7,680 trips. That’s 195 more trips than the 7,485 recorded on the Bridge Pedal Sunday of August 12th, and 248 more trips than the third highest tally of 7,432 that was recording on opening day.

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New bike counter tallies 7,432 Hawthorne Bridge bike trips on first day of operation

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

6,038 as of 7:49 pm last night.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePorltand)

Portland’s new bike counter had its first full day of operation yesterday and it logged 7,432 bike trips across the Hawthorne Bridge. That number is relatively close to 8,044, which is the average daily number of trips PBOT tallied in their official 2011 counts.

As the counter rolls out, I’m still learning more about it and clarifying some confusion surrounding it.

First, I want to share that contrary to what I understood from PBOT staff, the daily and annual bike trip data is available online. The company we purchased the counter from, Montreal-based Eco-Counter, has a website up for the Hawthorne Bridge counter which displays the data in a few different formats. (UPDATE: According to PBOT bike coordinator Roger Geller, the website is updated once a day at 2:00 am.)

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Portland makes bikes count on the Hawthorne Bridge

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Bike counter unveiling-6

Let the counting begin!
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

From now on, people crossing the Hawthorne Bridge by bike will count. Literally. A new bike counter (a.k.a. the bicycle barometer) — the first of its kind in the United States — went live at midnight last night and at this morning’s press conference the number was already well over 2,000.

The event was a chance for the City of Portland to unveil the new counter; but the moment really belonged to Cycle Oregon, the local non-profit that gave the City $20,000 to make it a reality. (The idea for the counter came from PBOT Bike Coordinator Roger Geller. Read more background in our archives.)

Jonathan Nicholas, the former columnist for The Oregonian who co-founded Cycle Oregon, was on hand this morning. As usual, his words cut through the clutter and I think they’re worth sharing verbatim:

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Bicycle counter to go live this week on Hawthorne Bridge

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
bike counter under wraps

Under wraps now; but it’ll start counting Wednesday.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Right on schedule, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has installed a bicycle counter on the Hawthorne Bridge. The device stands at the western end of the north side of the bridge, where the path splits down to Waterfront Park. It’s currently under wraps and not operational, but sources at PBOT tell me a press conference is planned for this Wednesday and the counter will be fully operational at that time.

Once up and running, this will be the first bicycle counter of its kind installed in a U.S. city in North America. Seattle announced a counter back in May, but to my knowledge, it has not yet been installed.

The counter not only gives Mayor and Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams a chance to proclaim another bicycle innovation “first” (at least for the U.S.), he can also tout that the counter was privately funded. The $20,000 piece of equipment purchased from Montreal-based firm Eco-Counter, was bought for the city by Cycle Oregon. The counter will also give Adams and PBOT staffers a way to demonstrate very publicly just how many people ride bicycles over the Hawthorne Bridge.

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More details on bike counter coming to Hawthorne Bridge

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“This counter will raise awareness among all travelers of the significant role bicycles play in Portland’s transportation system.”
— PBOT spokesman Dan Anderson

As we shared on Monday, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is all set to install the city’s first automated bicycle counter on the Hawthorne Bridge. The new counter, purchased from a Canadian company thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Cycle Oregon Fund, will provide a daily and ongoing tally of the number of bicycles that pass by it.

After our post, many of you wondered where exactly the counter would go. We followed-up with PBOT and this morning we heard more details from bureau spokesman Dan Anderson and PBOT bike coordinator Roger Geller.

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Electronic bicycle counter coming to Hawthorne Bridge

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A bicycle counter similar to this one
will be installed on the Hawthorne
Bridge later this summer.
(Photo: Eco-Counter)

At long last, Portland is set to install an electronic bicycle counter. The new tool, which will be placed on the Hawthorne Bridge, will provide a daily and annual, ongoing count of the number of people who pass by on a bicycle..

The new counter will be an Eco-Totem made by Eco-Counter, a Montreal-based company. Funding for the project was supplied via a $20,000 grant from Cycle Oregon. The City of Portland, Bureau of Transportation applied for the grant last fall and Cycle Oregon ride director Jerry Norquist says it was approved in February.

According to Norquist, the grants committee of the Cycle Oregon board was “intrigued” by the idea. “It’s like when McDonalds put out signs saying they sold 1 million hamburgers,” Norquist said via phone this morning, “Except this is a much bigger deal, because it will show people they’re making a difference in transportation.”

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